WASHINGTON— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says a nuclear accord with Iran will halt Tehran’s march to atomic weapons capacity and provide a window to negotiate a final agreement. The Obama administration is attempting to convince skeptics at home and abroad that the preliminary deal is good for America and its allies.
In a media blitz on U.S. airwaves Sunday, Secretary Kerry described the accord as a first step towards a possible peaceful resolution of Iran's nuclear ambitions. Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation program, Kerry detailed restrictions Tehran has agreed to.
"They will have to destroy the higher-enriched uranium they have, which is critical to being able to build a bomb," he said. "Once they have destroyed that, they only have lower-enriched uranium. They are not allowed under this agreement to build additional enrichment facilities. We will have restrictions on the centrifuges, which are critical for enrichment.”
The secretary stressed the agreement mandates rigorous verification.
“It is not based on trust. It is based on verification," he said. "It is based on your ability to know what is happening. So you do not have to trust the people you are dealing with. You have to have a mechanism in place whereby you know exactly what you are getting, and you know exactly what they are doing.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the agreement as a “historic mistake.”
Appearing on ABC’s This Week program, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss said the accord falls short of the international community’s overriding goal.
“Nothing in what Secretary Kerry just said moves us in the direction of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” said Chambliss.
The senator also objected to any relaxation of economic pressure against Iran.
“Now is just not the time to ease sanctions when they are working,” he said.
Late Saturday, President Barack Obama described sanctions relief as “modest” and subject to cancellation if Tehran does not meet its commitments. Secretary Kerry said the accord is far preferable to having Iran unconstrained in its nuclear activities.